County surrounded by barren mountains in S China's Guangxi thrives thanks to outdoor sports industry

(People's Daily Online) 09:47, August 05, 2022

Surrounded by the barren rocks of rugged mountains, Mashan county in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has thrived on the emergence of “sport plus” industries in recent years, delivering benefits to local residents.

Several enthusiasts rock climb in a town in Mashan county in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Qin Xingxing)

By taking advantage of its rugged mountains, which stretch 1,320 square kilometers in size and encompass 56.3 percent of the county’s total area, the county explored a path to promoting the development of outdoor sports. It held the China-ASEAN Mountain Marathon for the first time in 2016, and went on to host more outdoor sporting events, blazing a trail for rural vitalization.

In 2017, the county started to build a small “town” as a special area for rock climbing. So far, the first phase of the project, which has 22 climbing walls and 553 climbing routes, has been completed. At present, the small “town” now regularly hosts sporting events and serves as a venue for long-term sports training, not to mention providing a platform for China’s sports tourism industry.

Relying on the collective economy, Yangshan village, Guling township of Mashan invested 1.7 million yuan (about $251,600) in a local tourism company, and earns a yearly bonus of 136,000 yuan, said Huang Linhui, mayor of Guling township. Huang added that the rock-climbing industry has helped over 1,000 households to earn an extra annual income of over 30,000 yuan on average.

Liang Fangling from Yangshan village, who once worked in south China’s Guangdong Province, now works in her hometown as a safety officer for Via Ferrata, an assisted climbing experience set up along routes inside the mountains, after obtaining a relevant certificate.

“I earn a monthly income of over 3,000 yuan,” she said, adding that the income is about the same compared to her income in Guangdong, and she can take better care of her family now.

Besides, Mashan has developed a tourism industry that integrates outdoor activities, leisure, modern agriculture, cultural and innovative industries. According to Li Bingbing, an official at the culture, sports, radio, television and tourism bureau of Mashan, the county received over 6 million tourists in 2019, up from some 2.7 million in 2016, while total tourist consumption increased from some 1.7 billion yuan in 2016 to over 4.4 billion yuan in 2019.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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